With temperatures rising and winter drawing to an end, it’s time to get out and move your dining al fresco! For a space that’s truly unique in this concrete jungle of ours, step into Hysan Place’s Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant!
Once you enter Shelter, expect your breath to be taken away. Who knew that Hysan Place mall had this potential? Slotted right in the middle of the building, Shelter sits in the middle of a wind tunnel, so expect it to be easy, breezy and fun throughout your meal. The space is huge and the décor is charming, with twinkling lights hanging from the leavings on the walls – just perfect for a magical evening.
Speaking of perfect, if you’re on the lookout for the wedding reception spot, Shelter is sure to become a huge hit with all future brides out there. It’s new and unconventional, with capacity for at least 300 people; this place is seriously just fabulous for hosting any private function.
Another highlight is that Shelter puts a huge effort into sourcing organic food and supporting local farming communities. To give you the ultimate food experience, there’s even an organic garden on the patio, from which many of the ingredients on the menu are sourced – cute! There’s also a sizeable bar area overlooking buzzing Causeway Bay that would be ideal for chilled after-work drinks or a destination to bring out-of-towners.
Shelter’s menu is also pretty extensive and generally Italian-influenced. Our first appetiser was the “capesante”; our juicy pan-seared Hokkaido scallops were cooked perfectly and the accompanying chickpeas and bacon paired wonderfully with the seafood, whilst the dollop of salsa verde on top added a lovely herby, tangy hint to the dish.
Our burrata arrived sitting grandly on top of a circle of organic tomatoes. For presentation, I give this dish a ten, but the burrata itself was lacking a bit of flavour and that luscious creamy center.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the name of the next dish – the “Fat Spaghetti” aka “pici all’arrabbiata”. With a name like that, unless you’re a total carbivore, this is probably a good one to split with your fellow diners! The difference between organic and normal veggies was clear in this dish – the arrabbiata cherry tomato sauce was unbelievably sweet and fresh tasting, whilst we loved the nicely al dente chewy pasta too. Delish.
For those who want to try something new, order up the baccala. The cod, evenly encrusted in chopped almond and pistachio, was served on top of an overly sweet vanilla sauce. The cod was cooked well and I did enjoy the accompanying artichoke (also beautifully cooked), but the vanilla sauce did somewhat kill the dish for me.
As for the underdog of the mains we ordered, I experienced love at first bite with the “petto di pollo biologico”! The chicken itself was moist and juicy, and the side of purple potato mash was stellar – wonderfully rich and full of flavour. This dish had a real hearty comforting quality that would make me want to order it time and again.
As for the sweets, if you’re vegan, Shelter has you sorted! Our blueberry vegan cheesecake, made of almond meal, tasted nice but the texture was a little dense for us.
Shelter’s raspberry sorbet had a lovely light, fresh taste that was the perfect lead into our luxurious, molten chocolate pie. Watching that “dangerous” molten chocolate ooze out is always my favourite part of the meal!
For the shining star of the night, Shelter’s signature “crostatina al limone e fragile” (fancy talk for lemon tart!) is a must-order. The lemon custard was tangy deliciousness that, added to the sweet berries on top, made for the perfect combination of sweet and sour in each bite!
If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind sanctuary, head to Shelter for some organic produce and cooking right in the heart of the city. Prices are indeed on the pricey side, with average spending per person ranging around $500-$1000, but for a relaxing meal in such a magical atmosphere, a meal at Shelter is most certainly worth a try.
Shelter Italian Bar & Restaurant Shop No. 718-719, 7/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong